The BMW Z4 GT3 has claimed its first podium finish at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE): Maxime Martin (BE) brought the number 25 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS car home in second. As well as Martin, Yelmer Buurman (NL), Andrea Piccini (IT)...
The BMW Z4 GT3 has claimed its first podium finish at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE): Maxime Martin (BE) brought the number 25 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS car home in second. As well as Martin, Yelmer Buurman (NL), Andrea Piccini (IT) and Richard Göransson (SE) were also in action over the course of the eventful race.
After 88 laps of the 25.378-kilometre circuit, the runner-up car was 2:39.781 minutes behind winning Mercedes drivers Bernd Schneider (DE), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), Sean Edwards (GB) and Nicki Thiim (DK). Because of this, BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS narrowly missed out on securing a 20th overall victory for BMW at the endurance classic. With 19 triumphs to its name since 1970, BMW remains by far the most successful manufacturer in the Eifel. After fourth place last year, this result underlines just how at home BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS is on what is possibly the toughest circuit in the world.
As well as Team Principal Bas Leinders’ (BE) crew, BMW Team Schubert also finished with one car in the top ten. Claudia Hürtgen (DE), Dirk Adorf (DE), Jens Klingmann (DE) and DTM driver Martin Tomczyk (DE) refused to be discouraged by several minor set-backs and an unfortunate incident involving the team’s second car. The number 20 BMW Z4 GT3 ended the race in sixth. A “Code 60” as early as the sixth lap caused a long tailback, which ended right behind a section with very poor visibility. Uwe Alzen (DE), in the cockpit of the number 19 car, was unable to avoid the final car in the tailback, which just so happened to be the team’s second BMW Z4 GT3 with Hürtgen at the wheel. Fortunately, however, he did avoid a full-on impact. This collision ultimately resulted in Alzen and his fellow drivers Dirk Müller (DE) and Augusto Farfus (BR), who like Tomczyk had travelled straight from the DTM race at Brands Hatch (GB) to be at the Nürburgring, retiring from the race.
An accident also prevented the second BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS car, driven by Leinders, Henri Moser (CH) and Markus Palttala (FI), from finishing what was, based on the actual driving time, the shortest ever 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The fifth BMW Z4 GT3 in the field, driven by Henry Walkenhorst (DE), Ralf Oeverhaus (DE), Maximilian Partl (DE) and Wolf Silvester (DE), came home 17th. Motorsport fans in the “Green Hell” saw an eventful race, in which the weather played a crucial role. The race started in dry conditions at 17:00hrs on Sunday. Then, just as forecast, came the rain. This, together with thick fog on parts of the circuit, produced extremely difficult conditions. As a result, the race organisers suspended the 41st staging of the 24-hour race shortly after 23:00hrs. The enforced break that followed lasted over nine hours. Only at 08:20hrs did the race resume.
As well as the works-assisted teams, many privately-run BMW cars also thrilled the fans lining the iconic circuit again this year. BMW teams came home first in the D1T+D3T, SP10 GT4, SP 4+SP 5, SP 6, V4, V5 and V6 classes. This brings the total number of class victories achieved by BMW at the 24-hour race to 162.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“This Nürburgring 24 Hours was once again packed with excitement – and featured an absolutely sensational final stint from Maxime Martin, who was able to overtake two rivals out on the track in the last few laps. Our race was initially blighted by the unlucky collision involving the two BMW Team Schubert cars, and then came the weather-inflicted stoppage during the night – and finally the joy at second place for BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS. Over the past 24 hours, the legendary Nordschleife has once again shown us exactly what makes this circuit so special and so infamous. I am delighted for Bas Leinders’ team and the four drivers in the number 25 BMW Z4 GT3. Back in 2012, BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS narrowly missed out on a top-three finish in the Green Hell, and now it has its podium. The crew produced a flawless rac